Of all the full time jobs of the adult world, one of the most time consuming and challenging is staying on course with hope and remaining open to goodness.
I am not going to specify the separated and divorced here because by a certain age we all find ourselves a little broken by the world, a little lost, a lot disenchanted, perhaps heartbroken, maybe trust is shattered, we went off course and deeply regret the wasted time and what we should have done, should have seen coming or should have not done.
To stay on course we have to believe in goodness and love and all the risk that that involves and that the deal was never that we would not get hurt, and would not disappoint and be disappointed, that our hearts would not get broken and that we would not break hearts but rather that we live deeply and thoroughly and can never regret that we sat on the sidelines
bitter, broken and protected by an outer wall to all that life has to offer like a virtual bystander of our own life.
I drove my oldest daughter to camp this weekend for the 8th time. 8 Years ago, when the trip was made for the first time, I had to meet the counsellors and assistant counsellors and SEE THE WHITES OF THEIR EYES and see whether they were the type of people who might comfort her and rub her back if she was homesick. I met all the cabin mates and wondered were they nice and kind enough to have her around them for two weeks. I looked at the waterfront and thought about fun and beautiful sunsets she would see and maybe for a second about drowning. I looked at the mess hall and thought about nutrition- white bread or brown? Would they make them eat veggies? Is that really a box of Lucky Charms over there?
When it rained at any point during that time she was away, I wondered if she was dry. When it was hot and sunny- are you wearing sunscreen and drinking lots of water? You know how you get migraines.
At night I hoped she was warm enough and getting enough sleep and not feeling one ounce lonely.
It was two weeks only and I got better at it as we all do as time went on.
On Saturday this year, I dropped her off for the whole summer. She is working there.
I still tried to do that thing that I have tried to do for 8 years. I hang up her bathrobe and towel and start making her bed. I get a rash thinking she might be at any point touch the camp mattress with her bare skin. I put the shoes in the cubby and the rain boots by the door. She says “please mom” two times and I ignore her. And then finally- she gets mad, her kind of mad- which is the kindest of mads but I know it when I see it- and I say “sorry” and laugh and go outside onto her porch and look at her little pretty view of the lake right there so close so she can hear the water when she sleeps. And I think- you are about to have another amazing experience and I can barely stand how excited I am for you.
It is like all these moments of motherhood are the same. You are so so happy for them because they are doing what they love and being appreciated for it. They are learning and taking big risks and making mistakes and overcoming and being their best.
But you wish it did not have to be so far away from you.